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P. S. Harrison

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

P. S. Harrison
BornPetros Spallios
March 23, 1880
Gumlek, Turkey, Ottoman Empire
Died22 October 1966
Salonika, Greece
OccupationAmerican journalist, publisher, critic
Years active1918 — 1962

P. S. Harrison (March 23, [1]1880 — 22 October 1966) ,[2] known popularly as Pete Harrison, founded the motion picture trade journal, Harrison's Reports, which was published weekly from 1919 until 1962. Until the late 1950s, he was the publisher and chief reviewer.

Early years

Born as Petros Spallios in Turkey of Greek ethnicity. Working as a stoker, he jumped ship in New York in 1903. In Long Beach, California, he worked as a projectionist, and managed a nickelodeon.[3] In 1918, he became a film reviewer for Motion Picture News with a column titled Harrison's Exhibitor Reviews.

Harrison's Reports

In 1919, he founded Harrison's Reports which was published weekly from 5 July 1919 until 11 August 1962. Until the 1950s, he may have been its sole writer and reviewer (except for one review in 1943; see below).

From beginning to end, Harrison's Reports did not accept film advertising, leaving Harrison free to discuss subjects other trade periodicals would not report. Often he would advise, "It is a clean picture", meaning no subject matter relating to sex.[citation needed] From his editorials, it is clear he believed "dirty" movies were bad for the movie business. He took a strong stand against the practice that later became known as "product placement" that is, brand names appearing in movies. From the late 1940s through the early 1950s, his editorials also took on a strong anti-communist stance.[citation needed]

In the 1950s, cable TV made its first appearance, and Harrison approved efforts by theater owners to make it illegal.[citation needed]

In the late 1950s Harrison sold control to Al Picoult, who became managing editor. Picoult also became publisher and sold the paper in June 1959 to individuals associated with exhibitor, Allied States, which the paper had been close to and supported for many years. Harrison still retained an interest.[4][5]

In July 1959, David Martin took over from Harrison as the new editor, with Harrison retiring.[5]

In 1962, Harrison was still publishing film reviews in a publication called Harrison’s Hollywood Reviews but ceased due to health issues.[6]

Sued for libel

Harrison's editorials often discussed Will H. Hays and the Hays Office, rarely favorably. In the 31 October 1931 issue, Harrison reported that Hays Office lawyer Gabriel Hess, among others, had been indicted for criminal conspiracy in Ontario, Canada.[citation needed] The wording of Harrison's editorial was erroneous, and in the issue of 14 November 1931, Harrison printed a retraction/correction, including the text of the indictment as it related to Hess. The same editorial also stated that Hess had filed a libel suit against Harrison.[citation needed]

Libel laws of that period required virtually no proof of damage to the plaintiff. In the 28 September 1935 issue, Harrison reported that Hess had been awarded $5,200 plus costs. Harrison settled the judgment for $5,000, money he did not have, but he did have enough friends who donated or loaned him the money he needed to continue in business.[citation needed]

Brief career as screenwriter and producer

In 1943, Harrison co-wrote and produced Deerslayer. The screenplay, adapted from the novel by James Fenimore Cooper, was co-written and produced by E.B. Derr. It is the only known production credit for Harrison, and the only writing credit of Derr, who produced several dozen movies from 1930 to 1943 (and none afterward).

The 13 November 1943 issue of Harrison's Reports reviewed the film, which was the first review in the journal that was acknowledged not to have been written by Harrison. It was written by Harrison's friend, Abram F. Myers,[7] a leader at exhibitor Allied States.[4]

The movie's review by Variety opined, "Harrison draws a complete blank as a producer-scenarist."[8]


  1. ^ "Ssdi".
  2. ^ Obituary, Variety (2 November 1966)
  3. ^ Sanderson Vanderbilt. "Iron Moulder to Cinema Critic", New York Herald Tribune (10 October 1937)
  4. ^ a b "Harrison's Reports Sold to Undisclosed Buyer". Variety. June 10, 1959. p. 19. Retrieved June 15, 2019 – via
  5. ^ a b "Hail and Farewell". Harrison's Reports. July 25, 1959. p. 117. Retrieved June 15, 2019 – via
  6. ^ "State of Trade Press". Harrison's Reports. June 30, 1962. p. 97. Retrieved June 15, 2019 – via
  7. ^ ""Deerslayer" with Bruce Kellogg and Jean Parker". Harrison's Reports. November 13, 1943. p. 184. Retrieved June 15, 2019 – via
  8. ^ "Film Reviews: Deerslayer". Variety. November 10, 1943. p. 35. Retrieved June 15, 2019 – via

External links

This page was last edited on 24 March 2021, at 19:25
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